Sanders tops Clinton in a national poll for the first time
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Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersThe media couldn't be more blatant in distorting Trump's words on Charlottesville Road to renewable energy is filled with potholes of ‘magic thinking’ Bernie Sanders: Trump’s Charlottesville comments ‘embarrassing’ MORE has passed Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonAssange meets U.S. congressman, vows to prove Russia did not leak him documents High-ranking FBI official leaves Russia probe OPINION | Steve Bannon is Trump's indispensable man — don't sacrifice him to the critics MORE at the top of a national poll for the first time in the 2016 race. 

A Fox News poll of the Democratic presidential race released Thursday shows Sanders with 47 percent support to Clinton’s 44 percent.

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That's a gain of 10 percentage points for Sanders a January version of the poll. Clinton's support declined 5 points.

Clinton posted leads as high as 30 points over the summer, but Sanders has been steadily closing the gap. While no other poll of the race going back to 2014 has ever showed Clinton trailing a rival, she led Sanders by just 2 points in the last two Quinnipiac University tracking polls. 

It's unclear whether the numbers are outliers or indicative of a dramatic change in the race. Outside of the Quinnipiac poll, Clinton posted double-digit leads in all three national polls conducted in February, with the largest lead coming in at 21 percentage points. 

“One thing that is clear from our poll — and others — is that Clinton has been losing support and Sanders has been gaining,” said Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, who assisted Fox News on the poll.

“And this process appears to have accelerated since the contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.”

Fox released the poll two days before Saturday's caucuses in Nevada, a state where Clinton has also seen a major lead evaporate. A CNN/ORC poll from this week found the White House hopefuls essentially tied there.

The Democratic establishment had long viewed Clinton as the inevitable nominee, but anxiety is growing, with some fearful that the campaign is slipping away from her.

Sanders's lead in the Fox poll comes due to improved numbers among female voters — a net loss of 25 points for Clinton over the past month — and gains among white voters, with a decline of 13 points for Clinton. But the poll shows Clinton still holding her lead with black voters. 

The poll also found that a vast majority of Democrats, 72 percent, believe Sanders is "realistic enough" to serve as president despite repeated attacks by the Clinton campaign that his policies on healthcare and subsidized public college tuition are a pipe dream.

There are also signs that Sanders is catching on with the broader electorate.

Thirty percent of all voters would consider themselves satisfied if Sanders wins the White House, more than said the same of Clinton or Republicans Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpAssange meets U.S. congressman, vows to prove Russia did not leak him documents A history lesson on the Confederacy for President Trump GOP senator: Trump hasn't 'changed much' since campaign MORE or Jeb Bush. Sanders also has the lowest number of people out of those four candidates who would be "not at all" satisfied with his election. 

Updated at 6:53 p.m.